MANILA, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles, Manila Bureau) – The absolute pardon granted by Rodrigo Duterte to convicted murderer, American Scott Pemberton, is fueling speculation on who’s next in line for this Constitutional prerogative granted to the President of the Philippines.
Pemberton is the U.S. marine convicted of killing Filipino transgender woman Jennifer Laude in 2014.
Duterte supporters have supported the President’s move, citing geo-politics and many other justifications for his action.
Sources close to Malacañang Palace say that Duterte is seriously considering Rappler CEO Maria Ressa as the next beneficiary of absolute pardon.
Ressa, a fierce critic of Duterte, was convicted of cyber libel by a Philippine court. The conviction is currently on appeal.
Political and legal analysts believe that a pardon for Ressa is quite likely on the same grounds of geo-politics, not to mention the fact that her conviction is for cyber libel, a much lesser offense than Pemberton’s murder.
If all goes well, and Ressa is pardoned, the American citizen will no longer have reason to accuse the Philippine government of “weaponizing the law” to curtail her freedom of speech or to silence her online news business.
The ball is now in the court of Duterte.